According to experts in the tech industry, Augmented Reality (AR) is expected to grow rapidly by the year 2025, reaching a global market value of around 198 billion dollars. Hence, we can definitely expect to see some exciting new things in AR this year.
What Exactly Is AR?
Augmented reality is a technology that incorporates digital or virtual elements into the real world. Essentially, it takes an existing environment and overlays with new elements or information. AR technology is currently used in many smartphone apps. The most popular example would be Pokemon Go. CGI Pokemon are overlaid onto the actual world and you’re able to interact with them through the app.
Augmented reality has tons of potential and many tech companies are already tapping into it. For instance, the Google Maps competitor ‘Mapbox’ develops AR maps which not only gives you directions at the street view level but also pops up information about surrounding buildings as you pass them. AR can also potentially change the way we shop in physical stores, allowing us to look up information on products without having to rely on attendants.
Trends To Expect In 2021
Augmented Reality is catching on fast in 2021. Here’s what we can expect to see pretty soon:
Training With AR
According to Training magazine’s 2018 Training Industry Report, US businesses spent a total of $87.6 billion in total on training expenditures. However, with the adoption of AR technology, things could change pretty quickly. NASA and the military are two organizations that already use simulations in their training. This is because in-situ programs would be both dangerous and enormously costly.
Likewise, other industries can cut down their training costs by adopting AR technology. For instance, physical training materials and props could be replaced with digital ones, eliminating waste. AR training simulations can also be more effective than regular sessions because of potential features like built-in instructions or real-time remote assistance.
Shopping With AR
Returned items are a huge cost for retail businesses all over the world. In the UK alone, returns cost businesses more than £60bn each year, which undoubtedly pressures profit margins. Augmented Reality can step in and help retailers reduce returns. This is done by creating a ‘try-before-you-buy’ virtual experience.
AR apps may allow customers to visualize products without having to steps out of their own homes. They could render these products in their own interiors so that they can see how they look occupying a particular space. This is especially practical for furniture items and decor.
Being able to use AR this way will help to reduce the practice of purchasing multiple items to try out, choosing one and then returning the rest. This has become an increasingly common practice among shoppers nowadays.
We might also start seeing AR-enabled mirrors in dressing rooms. These will allow customers to change the color of the dress they’re wearing so that they don’t have to try out multiple clothes.
Navigating Indoors With AR
Google Maps allow for accurate outdoor navigation but can’t really help you once you’re indoors. Hence, indoor AR navigation solutions can really come in handy, especially when you’re in an airport or a very large mall. In fact, Gatwick Airport has already implemented such a service, helping passengers to get to the right terminal and/or gates. Similarly, AR could also be used to display information about certain locations or help customers located facilities within a building.
Increasing Productivity With AR
AR can help improve the effectiveness and speed of collaboration between teams by bringing the digital process into the physical space. For instance, an employee could simply display a presentation on the wall through AR without having to set up a projector or book a board room. AR can help with prototyping physical products as well by allowing developers to render them in the real world and see how they interact with the actual space.
As you can see, AR’s potential seems limitless. While it’s expected to become a huge industry by 2025, you can already see some cool innovations and trends popping up this year. In 2021, AR is probably going to cause disruptions in a variety of industries. It could change the way we shop, run businesses, navigate and even interact with each other.